Props & Disses: June 18

By on June 17, 2014

Hatin’ on horse trailers? An impossible turn onto Spring Gulch. PHOTO CREDIT: Mary Grossman

Trailers get dry-gulched DISS

Jackson Hole, Wyoming – “They’re not just going to leave it like that, are they?” a concerned horsey person asked this columnist.

The “it” was the new turnoff protocol at Spring Gulch Road near the Y on Highway 22. Crews have been busy digging around there, removing the old off ramp and replacing it with a 90-degree right turn with a semi-dedicated turn lane. The design works fine for a Mini Cooper driven by someone (or everyone, it seems) who doesn’t use their turn signal and makes last-second decisions.

But what about trailers? Other than Bar BC Ranch third-home owners, airport runners cutting out town and Spring Creek guests, many of the vehicles headed down Spring Gulch are in ag-related pursuits. Ranchers, landscapers, propane trucks, and a variety of other big rig users are headed down Spring Gulch daily.

The poor Meads. There is no earthly way a cowboy with a long bed hauling an eight-horse fifth wheel will be able to make that turn without wiping out the power pole and at least two of the 17 cars waiting to get on to 22 at the county’s most useless stoplight.

The layout is necessary to accommodate a future pathway on the east side of 22. Allowing vehicles to “off ramp” onto Spring Gulch would be disastrous for bikers, but the compromise puts cowboys and their ilk at the bottom of the list. Again.

Revolt while you can DISS

I get a charge out of the Town’s new electric fueling station. And I’m probably the only one who has.

The new volt valet on the Town Square is one of those ideas that looks sexy on paper put has no practical purpose. It’s putting the cart before the horse. Actually BEHIND the horse (and coach) in this case. The volt valet is situated immediately behind the town’s stagecoach stop.

In the real world, what is sorely needed is parking for regular people and their gas burners in the downtown area. In Paradise Found, the Town of Jackson can boast about being green while shoppers see red. Expect to see more Toyota Tundras poaching the spot than EVs actually using it.

For that matter, the hybrid priority parking spaces also are an annoyance. From a purely economic standpoint, a carbon-belching Lexus driver will probably fill sales tax coffers at a greater rate than Hyundai Hybrid owners, generally speaking. Green machine drivers are penny pinchers by nature – always concerned with saving the Earth instead of spending on extravagant, big-ticket items that will eventually wind up in our landfills.

And continuing the subject of parking, how frustrating is it to think you’ve finally found a spot right up front only to find after you pull in that it’s a handicap space? I mean, are there really that many invalids in this town? It’s probably a federal requirement so Washington is likely to blame, but gee whiz someone needs to double-check the ratio of handicap drivers to lazy, able-bodied motorists who scored a blue sticker just by showing their AARP card to their doctor.

Fastest draw in the West PROP

Jeff Rambo has a good idea. Mostly.

The Jackson Hole biker developed a quick access bear spray holder that allows backcountry users to access their pepper spray prior to being mauled to pieces.

The Scat Belt fits around the waist of hikers and bikers, with the holster positioned for a quick draw. Carrying bear spray in the bottom of a backpack is about as effective as forgetting it in your car only to have it explode in the trapped heat. The current holster system employed by most manufacturers is only marginally better. Both hands are required to wrench the canister from the vice-like grip of the pouch. By then, you’re toast.

Rambo’s invention has only two flaws. First, most backcountry users probably already have 20 things hanging around their waist – GPS, digital camera, smart phone, knives, guns, maps, water bottles, binoculars. Strapping on one more thing is sure to take the spring out of one’s step.

But worse, the 130-decibel alarm triggered when the canister is loosened from its holster is only going to serve to make the user more terrified of the situation. Noise has basically been proven not to be a deterrent to angry bears and the elevated excitement level created by the racket will only make the user shakier in deployment. Granted, Rambo intends to market the alarm system to urban users, mainly women, who may choose to go strapped in defense of big-city rapists.

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About Jake Nichols

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